Coding instructors are adding AI to their lessons—before AI replaces them

At General Assembly, a coding boot camp, ChatGPT is already part of the course. Instructors are incorporating the artificial intelligence chatbot into lesson plans, and students are encouraged to use the AI tool to do their homework. “Our instructors are on the ground teaching it now,” said Robert Jones, vice president of product strategy at General Assembly.

AI is poised to transform many jobs—about two-thirds of US occupations will be impacted by AI to some degree, according to an April report by Goldman Sachs. And coding boot camps, which promise to equip students with the most in-demand skills, are adapting to reflect that.

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How ChatGPT is being used in the classroom

At General Assembly, which was founded in 2011, instructors are teaching students how to responsibly use AI and about how the technology works, Jones said. The company is receiving informal feedback to create more standardized curriculum materials that will be rolled out to all 30,000 of its teachers this summer. That means coding instructors, too, will need to keep up with the pace of technology.

Meanwhile, the use of AI by students to complete their coursework is a topic many universities and high schools are grappling with—and one that General Assembly is embracing.

“We are certainly expecting that students will use things like ChatGPT in doing their coursework,” said Jones. But students also should prepare to be asked to provide citations, pointing out where in the coursework they used bots like ChatGPT, or showing the exact prompts they fed into an AI tool.

“Part of what is really important and what we’re teaching students is the critical thinking skills that include how to get the most out of these technologies,” Jones said.

Jeff Maggioncalda, the CEO of online education company Coursera, suggests that in the era of generative AI, even an English literature class might look somewhat like a calculus class, in which students, despite having calculators, typically are still expected to show their work. “Yeah, I’m not going to say, ‘Submit an essay,’” Maggioncalda said. “I’m going to say show me how you wrote this essay.”

AI’s uptake will be slower in public education settings

There’s a real need for education companies to adapt to AI before their business models are at risk of becoming obsolete. On May 2, Chegg’s stock dropped nearly 50% after the online education company, which provides textbooks and tutoring, said ChatGPT is already affecting its customer growth rate.

Coding boot camps like General Assembly, which can cost north of $15,000 for a 12-week program, need students to remain willing to make the decision to invest in their careers. And that might be enough motivation to make sure their curricula adapt. “Change happens most quickly in places that are sort of incentivized to respond to the change,” said Jones.

How coding boot camps incorporate AI also may provide a window into how the technology might eventually change K-12 education.

A handful of tech-oriented educational nonprofits in the US are already aiming to help fill in expertise that traditional schools lack., which works with school districts to bring computer science education into classrooms, said it’s expanding its curriculum to include lessons on how AI is used in natural language processing and image generation by tools like ChatGPT or the art generator DALL-E. also wants to offer a digital teaching assistant, powered by AI, to help teachers identify struggling students and monitor cheating.

The future of coding boot camps

Coding boot camps are typically focused on a narrow set of occupations. But Jones said he expects generative AI to change all kinds of jobs, and create new ones, in the same way the internet did.

“Those who are preparing people for jobs—across an entire spectrum of jobs—need to be thinking about how can we use this new technology to help people do those jobs better and be happier and more successful in those jobs,” Jones said.

And if coding schools can adapt quickly enough, amid the tech industry’s ongoing layoffs, business for these boot camps could soon boom.

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